Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ode to Thanksgiving.

Along with Halloween, I'm pretty sure Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I'm taking both the day before and day after Thanksgiving off from work to return to my birthplace and enjoy the company of friends and family. Let me take you through my anticipated schedule of entertainment (just the highlights) once I get back to Cincinnati.

I'll probably get in around mid-afternoon on Wednesday and immediately do a shit ton of laundry at my mom's. That's right. I'm driving dirty laundry from Chicago to Cincinnati. This doesn't seem as illogical to me as it does to others. Because of my eccentric landlords, I have weird ass time constraints on when I can do my laundry at my house. I often work late, and I never have fucking quarters. My mom's washer and dryer are efficient and free. I'm looking forward to this. Doing laundry is like a 3 hour vacation. You're doing something, but not really.

Wednesday night marks the biggest drinking night of the year. I've never really understood this. People feel the need to get loaded before they meet up with their family the next day. Wouldn't it be more uncomfortable to be hung over around a bunch of relatives expecting you to make inane small talk? This is why I love my family. It's fucking tiny. No small talk required. Me, my brothers, stepdad, niece, and mom. Nice and simple. Anyway, Wednesday night will almost definitely be spent hanging out with everyone that is awesome to me at one of three places I drink at in Northside, Ohio. I'll get drunk and become louder than usual.

Thursday will be spent loafing around my mom's house and foolishly not eating in anticipation of a hearty meal. I make the same mistake every year. I don't eat all day because I think I need to maintain maximum capacity for all of the starch (mashed potatoes, stuffing/dressing, macaroni & cheese, rolls, etc.) I'm going to delicately pack in my gut. This system is no good. My stomach's so small by the time I eat that I can only handle three helpings of mashed potatoes. Unacceptable and embarrassing. And as I'm writing this, I know I'll do the same thing this year. Of course football's on, but I honestly can't remember the last time I watched an entertaining game on Thanksgiving. I'm assuming this has something to do with the fact that the Lions are always fucking dreadful and I despise the Cowboys. Regardless, it is football, and I will both watch and enjoy it. At the end of the night, we'll eat pumpkin pie and my mom will ask what we want for Christmas all the while repeating she can't spend too much money this year. None of will have an answer and none of us will believe her.

Friday will hopefully be tackle football day. Is there any other kind? I want it to be just like the Brett Favre Wrangler jeans commercial too. That's how I envision it. A bunch of old-school hardcore kids getting passes thrown to them by Brett Favre as he discusses the advantages of Wrangler jeans and smiles that sweet Mississippi smile. Oh by the way, every throw will be well out every receiver's reach forcing him or her to dive into a endless swamp of mud to make the grab. Sounds great. I will be horribly sore the next day from moving muscles that aren't used to getting any action and having the shit kicked out of me for two hours straight. Can't wait.

The Thanksgiving trip will culminate on Saturday night with what is sure to be the matchup of the millennium. The geniuses of the world have finally decided to come out with a Seinfeld Scene-It and the top Seinfeld aficionados in the universe (me, Justin, Kenny, and Billy) will battle it out for ultimate nerd supremacy. We've been talking for years about the possibility of this thing coming out and someone heard our prayers. I've had more than one friend tell me that they just want to be there to watch the battle. It will be both ridiculous and great. Amazing and pathetic. Fun and sad.

Sounds like a good trip to me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Common Denominator.

Justin and Heidi came up this past weekend and we had a grand old time. We ate Ethiopian food, explored the city, discussed the ins and outs of the great cinema classic the Fugitive, and finally got in some much needed sports talk. Justin is my primary sports confidant in this world because we pretty much have the same outlooks, witty opinions, and disdain for certain players and/or announcers (looking at you Favre and Berman). Anyway, after they left and I got done sobbing into my pillow, I started thinking about how awesome it is that I can talk sports with anyone. Sports knowledge creates a common denominator across different realms of society and has really helped me out in certain situations.

First and foremost, I get along with parents, particularly parents of someone I'm currently dating. I attribute this to sports for the most part. Being around a girlfriend's parents is always going to be slightly awkward, but it's a little less when you have a universal subject of interest that you can dissect intelligently. Parents, especially fathers, aren't usually the most approachable people when you first meet them. I've greatly benefited from my sports smarts with the last couple of girls I dated because I can always retreat into a discussion about the Reds or Bengals or Bearcats or whatever. It's awesome. A father can disassociate me from being the kid who's dating his daughter, and instead just look at me as some kid who knows Aaron Harang's ERA or the score from yesterday's Ohio State game. Plus, there's always something to talk about. Uncomfortable silences are for suckers. I usually get along better with the fathers than the daughters, and I'm kind of okay with that.

Sports talk also puts you in touch with a different ilk of people. Not terrible people, just people I may not normally hang out with or talk to. For instance, a friend of mine came into town a couple of weeks ago with a few of her co-workers. My friend and I went out to eat Indian food and later met up with her boss and co-worker at an absolutely atrocious piano bar where they covered "Sweet Home Alabama" and various Kid Rock songs...on the piano. Ugh. Anyway, as I stood there uncomfortably around a bunch of people I would probably never talk to or have anything in common with, her boss (an outspoken, wealthy Republican) and I got to talking about the Bengals. With the screeching hell of people singing "And I'm proud to be an American..." in the background (and he was enjoying the place mind you), we had found a common ground. Although I was still uncomfortable, the pain was alleviated if just for a moment. Just long enough for me to get the fuck out of there.

Also, and I'm not trying for this to sound cocky even though it probably will, I like the fact that people are surprised when I can talk sports with whomever I want. More than one person has said it's "weird" that I know so much about sports, but I can't help the fact that it's just one of those things that sticks in my mind. This weekend Justin and I were discussing Larry Johnson's "Grandma-ma" character of the early 90s when he was a semi-impressive player with the Charlotte Hornets trying to hock sneakers. Why the hell do we remember that era? Why can I recite every World Series and Super Bowl winner since 1990? Sports trivia sticks in my head, and while I went through an "I'm not going to pay attention to sports because I'm way too cool for that" period, I'm fucking glad it didn't stick. Otherwise, what would I have to talk about?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I went down to Grant Park last night for Obama rally just to "take it all in" and meet a couple of friends all the while knowing I wasn't going to stay. Guess what? It was a happy mess of madness. I may have stayed longer had I had somewhere or something or someone to hook my bike to. Yeah, that wasn't going to happen. So, I huffed it back home on the delightfully desolate streets of Chicago. Seriously, I've never scene Milwaukee Avenue that empty at 9 PM. It was great. Chicago has been abuzz in anticipation of the election, and it's been a sight to behold. One of its own was soon to be anointed, and while I have never claimed to be the most politically savvy or knowledgeable person, excited people smiling make me smile and excited.

This election seemed quick. Particularly because the first election I truly followed was the 2000 election with the Florida debacle. I was up until 3 in the morning watching that thing, and went to bed not knowing who won. I equate it to watching the entire 1991 World Series between the Twins and the Braves (best series I've ever witnessed) and going to bed after the ninth inning with the score tied at zero. It killed me to go to bed, but I just couldn't stay up anymore. Obama took care of his shit in this one though, and we can all really thank the key swing state of Ohio because once he got the heart of the country, it was pretty much over. Not a moment too soon either. Obama looked like he was going to pass out from sheer exhaustion when he was making his impressive speech.

Where it goes from here, I don't know. The stock market threw-up some more today and a few Wall Street big shots took a few steps closer to that open window as the economy nears the middle of the toilet bowl. The Reader eloquently summed it up with this issue's cover reading "Don't Screw It Up." I like my job.

Oh and by the way, California voted yes on Proposition 8, only recognizing heterosexual marriage as a legal union. This is happening literally on the heels of the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage only a few months ago. Now, several once legal marriages are unfairly suspended in limbo. What the fuck? That's sad.

This is as political as I'm going to get. Sorry for the strangeness. I'll go back to sports next post. I promise.